European Tour's first 59 could be in the cards this week, says McDowell

graeme mcdowell
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On Wednesday at the Irish Open, Graeme McDowell (center) received the European Tour's Player of the Month Award for June, in honor of his victory at the U.S. Open.
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Published: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | 12:00 p.m.

Graeme McDowell believes the European Tour's first-ever 59 is possible this week -- just days after he achieved the magic figure for the first time in his life.

The U.S. Open champion was playing with his father, uncle and a friend at the Valley Course in Portrush in his native Northern Ireland when he had 12 birdies and a bogey.

"I was quite nervous actually -- it's like a 147 in snooker, although maybe not quite as good as that," said McDowell. "I was sort of trying to put pressure on myself and said I needed to birdie two of the last four.

"Then I got them and needed a par at the 195-yard last,” he explained. “As soon as I hit my 5-iron to 12 feet I thought, 'Done it -- I'm not going to three-whack from there.' The second putt was about six inches and it was a special feeling. I've always dreamt of doing it."

McDowell is now in Killarney for the 3 Irish Open, which starts Thursday, and on a par-71 course measuring 7,161 yards -- more than 700 yards longer than the one on which he scored 59 -- low scoring is expected, especially after rain today softened it up.

"It could happen," said the Ulsterman on the possibility of someone breaking the European Tour record of 60, which has been achieved 14 times.

"If it remains soft and not much wind, I think the putting surfaces are good enough,” he said. “That's the key to shooting very low."